Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
William Eng, residing in an orphanage in Seattle, hasn’t really been holding out hope of ever seeing his mother again. He remembers her and vaguely knows the circumstances of her leaving, but since he hasn’t gotten word from her in many years, and assumes she is dead, he is resigned to life as an orphan. Being the only Chinese boy in the orphanage isn’t easy, but he does have two very good friends. One day the nuns take all the boys to the cinema to see a movie to celebrate their birthdays (to make things easier the nuns “give” all the boys the same birth date). One of the trailers advertises Seattle’s Own Willow Frost and the live appearance she will make in a few days time. Imagine William’s surprise to see his mother up there on the screen. Of course, he starts making plans to see his mother and find out the story of their pasts.
I really enjoyed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but in my opinion this one didn’t live up to its predecessor. I found William too perfect. For a boy in his circumstances he is amazingly, unbelievably, happy and well adjusted. He is, quite simply, a joy. While his mother’s life has been extremely hard and very sad, she did a wonderful job shielding the boy, and maybe that’s why he was so wonderful…but I didn’t buy it.
This would probably be an enjoyable read, but the audiobook is not for everyone. The narrator did a great job with the voices, but it was weird hearing an adult speak in a (pretty darn convincing most of the time) child’s voice.